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Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign and European Spokesperson (Paris, October 31, 2011)

Published on November 3, 2011

Palestine/ UNESCO

On September 21st, at the United Nations General Assembly, the President of the Republic presented France’s vision for advancing on the path to peace in the Middle East, in order to make progress on the path towards a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Regarding the United Nations, the President of the Republic had proposed that we work towards a resolution in the General Assembly allowing Palestine to raise its status within the UN by becoming a non-member observer state. We continue to believe that such a resolution would be a legitimate step towards recognition of a Palestinian state without creating, as may be feared with an approach through the Security Council, a major diplomatic confrontation, which would lead to deadlock.

Currently, the issue that was raised is whether the international community will answer “yes” or “no” to Palestine’s UNESCO membership request. Of course, we would have preferred that this issue be raised after the subject had been dealt with by the UN General Assembly in New York. However, since it has been raised today, we must assume our responsibilities and respond to the substance of the issue. On the substance, France says “yes”– Palestine has the right to become a member of UNESCO whose vocation is to work towards generalizing a culture of peace within the international community. Said membership falls entirely within the rationale of the UNGA approach proposed by the President of the Republic.

France has always been, is today, and will continue tomorrow to be on the side of peace. France supports the Palestinian leaders, first of whom is the President of the Palestinian Authority, in their efforts to establish a Palestinian state living side-by-side, in peace and security, with the state of Israel. On September 21st, at the United Nations General Assembly, the President of the Republic emphasized that should anyone in the world threaten the existence of Israel, France would be immediately and wholly at Israel’s side. We have said, and reiterate once again, that it is, above all, through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, that the goal of two states living in peace and security would be achieved. We remind both parties to make all the required compromises so that negotiations may be started again without delay.

Syria

President Assad warns that any western intervention in the country could cause an upheaval in the region. What is your reaction?

Obviously, Mr. Bashar al-Assad is seeking to divert the debate and the attention of international public opinion.

The world is waiting for the Syrian president to stop terrifying, torturing, and killing his own population.

Yesterday, the Arab League again clearly requested that he do so.

This is this murderous rationale which endangers Syria’s stability, at a time when the Arab peoples are demanding respect for their legitimate rights.

Syria/Arab League

Q. What is your comment on the Arab League Plan for Syria?
Withdrawal of tanks, end of violence, national dialogue. Do you think it’s enough, without a reference to Bachar Al Assad’s departure?

A. Still in recent days, dozens of civilians have fallen victim to the cruel repression by the Syrian regime against its people.

We condemn the systematic use of repression, violence, and torture by Bashar al-Assad’s armed forces against the Syrian people. The Syrian regime’s persistence in this murderous rationale will only lead to greater destabilization in Syria.

We welcome the firm messages the Arab League addressed the Syrian president demanding the release of prisoners, the withdrawal of tanks, an end to the violence, and a commitment to national dialogue.

It is past time for the UN Security Council Member States to assume their responsibilities in the face of a regime that demonstrates every day, by attacking its own population, that it has lost all legitimacy.

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